Going For Gold: The Joseph R. Drake School

The award is given for the complete exterior renovation of PS 48, a collegiate gothic building constructed in 1914. Designed by C.B.J. Snyder (Superintendent of School Buildings for NYC between 1891 and 1923) PS 48 Bronx is the highest structure in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx, and suffered years of water damage. Cracking through the masonry and the crenellated parapets allowed water to flow through the walls, so much so that water was literally running down the stairways, and blistering rain-soaked plaster was falling from walls and ceilings. The most severe damage occurred at the top floor where the building was most exposed to the driving rain. Repeated repointing had done virtually nothing to slow down the flow of water and resulted in brickwork smeared with over-wide pointing mortar. Adding insult to injury, six of the eight gargoyles standing watch over the building had been destroyed by lightning.

As a consultant to the New York City School Construction Authority, Nelligan White performed emergency repairs at interior areas, which required the removal of all exterior terra cotta and limestone decorative details, parapets, window surrounds, and the entire face-wythe of brick. In the process of waterproofing the entire building, the existing brick and decorative terra cotta were removed and replaced with new brick, architectural pre-cast concrete and glass fiber reinforced concrete to match the original in color, style, size, texture and profile. By drawing on 21st Century techniques to restore this historic structure, many of the schools details that had been lost over the course of the last century have been restored.

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